Marcie's Neighborhood

I started this quilt 12 months ago, I finished the stitching and then waited 6 months to get the quilt machine quilted. I am so excited to have this quilt almost complete, I just need a hanging pocket and label to the back of the quilt.
Marcie's neighborhood
This is my version of Sue Spargo's Tootin' Along quilt. I changed the generic auto with VW Bugs which are loved by myself and my daughter, Marcie. We have always driven blue Bugs, my first VW was a dark blue 1969 VW Bug with a flowered vinyl roof. Two years ago, someone made a left turn in front of my daughter and her lovely blue bug was totaled. I could only find a yellow VW Bug to replace the blue VW, hence the lone yellow VW on the lower left of the quilt. The quilt was machine quilted by Gina Perkes. The quilt is 23 1/2" by 37".

Marcie is also a dog lover, so I added some wooden dog buttons I found in Houston a few years ago. There is a poodle on the upper right of the quilt. Emmie is Marcie's miniature poodle.
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I just got home after an absolutely inspiring workshop with Sue Spargo at Madeline Island School of the Arts. MISA is located on Madeline Island, the largest of the 22 Apostle Islands in Lake Superior. I flew out of Phoenix on Sunday, June 25th to Minneapolis, Minnesota. My wool appliqué buddy, Monica and her husband picked me up at the airport and we drove to the Duluth airport to pick up a rental car. Monica and I then drove to Bayfield, Wisconsin to catch the ferry to Madeline Island and Monica's husband, Glenn, began his week fly fishing vacation in northern Minnesota.
Madeline Island Ferry

The class project was the peacock. I spent a few weeks getting the background and peacock appliqué pieces prepared.
Peacock background Peacock placement

I had the wool appliqué pieces all whipped stitched on my background and I was ready to start embellishing. After 5 days of stitching, I have a good start on the peacock but have much more to stitch. The peacock block is approximately 21" x 21".
Peacock 1
Friday afternoon, Monica and I drove to La Pointe. Monica had a chance to look for agates on the shoreline, she was brave enough to wade in the cold waters of Lake Superior and found some beautiful agates and rocks.
Monica Lake Superior
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Project bag

I am always looking for the perfect bag. A perfect bag has the perfectly sized pockets and shape to carry everything I need. There are thousands of bag pattern but one pattern never seems to have everything I am looking for. Sue Spargo designed the Allium bag a year ago, the bag was quite ingenious and almost perfect. The Allium Spool Sac was designed specifically to store Eleganza, Razzle and Dazzle threads with the special vinyl zippered pockets manufactured by Yazzii.

I found the vinyl zipper pockets were ideal to keep my project thread organized. I loved that the vinyl zipper pockets had velcro along one edge so the pockets could easily be changed out of the bag. The bag was almost perfect but it lacked pockets to keep my wool block, notebook and needle keep with the project threads.

After months and months of thinking about adding pockets to the Allium bag, I finally came up with a bag construction plan. I decided to use a light weight mesh for the pockets.
byannie has a wide selection of colors of mesh and zippers.

After much trial and error, I finished my first bag.

I am using the bag for my Solstice Dream quilt. Below are pictures of the inside of the bag. I have mesh pockets on each side of the bag, to hold block, pattern notebook. Solstice Dream requires a lot of different threads, I used 2 vinyl zipper pockets which attach to the bag with velcro.

Overall, I was pleased with my new bag. A few sewing design glitches which I tried to fix with my next bag.
I will use this bag for my 2017 Sue Spargo project, Fresh Cut.

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Folk Tails Quilt

It has been quite awhile since my last post, life got a bit complicated.  After Christmas, I sewed the binding on Folk-Tails and today I hung the finished quilt. 
Folk-Tails Quilt
Folk-Tails is a wool quilt was designed by Sue Spargo and was introduced as her 2015 block of the month.  Folk-Tails was a creative journey for Sue as she was born and Zambia so designing the African animals, birds and vegetation brought back many childhood memories.  January through October 2014, I received 3 blocks to appliqué and embellish plus each month Sue would write a story about African folklore such as "How the Zebra got his stripes" and "Why Warthog is so ugly".  The beautiful machine quilting was done by Jessica Jones Gamez .  The finished quilt is 37" x 43". Close up of quilting on the giraffe and stork Folk-Tails Stork and Giraffe
The outer edges of the road were couched with bullion knots over two strands of #3 pearl cotton.
Folk-Tails quilting
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Quilt for Sue Spargo

November 2015, Sue was diagnosed with breast cancer and for the last 12 months has courageously fought this disease. On May 18, 2016, Sue's daughter Aimee Spargo, sent a request to Sue Spargo stitchers to make a 4-1/2" square embellished WOOL block to be incorporate into an inspirational quilt for her Mom. Stitchers from all over the world responded to this request by stitching 394 blocks which Mary, Aimee and Kelly sewed together into an amazing quilt. The quilt was presented to Sue on October 14, 2016.

Quilt for Sue Spargo
This is the block I made

Courage block
My courage block in the quilt

Courage block in quilt

This October, Sue joined with BrightPink and pledged 20% from every pack of her Special Edition Breast Cancer Awareness Thread Packs. BrightPink is a national non-profit focused on prevention and early detection of breast and ovarian cancer in young women. The organization’s mission is to save women’s lives from breast and ovarian cancer by empowering them to live proactively at a young age. Bright Pink’s innovative programs educate and equip young women to assess their risk for breast and ovarian cancer, reduce their risk, and detect these diseases at early, non life-threatening stages.
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Today, Sue Spargo has started a 4 day countdown to the release of her new book, Folk-Tails. Today, we are allowed to share pictures of our completed Folk-Tails 2015 BOM quilts.
Folk Tails Quilt Phyl
This is my Folk-Tails quilt top, it measures about 37" by 43". My quilt is awaiting machine quilting by Jessica Jones Gamez, I can hardly wait to get it back.
Sue picked Alexander Henry fabric for the backing which is just perfect for the quilt's theme.
Alexander Henry Zoo fabric
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VW - Tootin' Along

I know better, I should never look at Sue Spargo's web site on Friday afternoon. Every Friday afternoon, Sue sends out her newsletter and she always seems to showcase a new patterns, fabrics or threads. A few weeks ago, Sue published a new pattern called Tootin' Along and of course I loved the quilt as did Marcie.
tootin along quilt

I immediately decided to change the generic blue cars to VW Bugs since I have long been a VW bug aficionado! Today, I drew a VW bug and decided I really should test the design before going ahead with appliquéing the VW bugs to the quilt. This block is about 4" by 6".
VW test
Today, I also prepared the background for my quilt. I decided to use a cotton fabric instead of wool for my road. There is about 120" of road that I must appliqué before I can start preparing all the wool VW, houses and trees. The finished quilt will be about 24" by 37".
Background Tootin' Along
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Allium Spool Sac

It has been months in the making because I chose not to follow the pattern exactly. The Allium Spool Sac was designed by Sue Spargo specifically to store Eleganza, Razzle and Dazzle threads with the special vinyl zippered pockets.
Allium Spool Sac

Allium Spool Sac thread insert

The wool appliqué front is about 14" by 15", the opened bag is 14" by 36". The interior base has 4" wide soft pile velcro so the hook velcro on the vinyl zippered pockets can attach to the base. The fabric is Birds & The Bees by tamarakate for Michael Miller, which perfectly compliments the wool appliqué. I used Incomparable Buttons on both upper bands. Incomparable Buttons are handmade by women in South Africa and are fully washable.

Allium Spool Sac wool thread insert

I wanted to use this new bag to carry all the threads used in Sue Spargo's 2016 BOM so I needed to design and sew a special vinyl zippered pocket insert which would hold the larger Genziana Wool thread spools. The new pocket insert is 13" by 28" with four sets of zippered gusseted pockets. I sewed the hook velcro to center vertical area and I sewed the soft pile velcro on the backside of the insert so I could attach one of Sue's vinyl zippered pocket to hold the Eleganza, Razzle and Dazzle threads.
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Pincushion for Sue Spargo

Saturday, I received a newsletter from Sue Spargo with some sad news.
Dear Friends,

On behalf of Sue, we feel it's important to share some very difficult news with you. In the recent weeks Sue has been diagnosed with breast cancer; she is in good spirits as she prepares to begin her treatment next week. Sue plans to continue her work in her studio here in northeast Ohio. We ask that you join us in surrounding Sue with much love and encouragement as she prepares to embark on this difficult journey.

Much love from Sue, Kelly, Andrew, Jason and Aimee

I have taken 3 week-long seminars with Sue plus I have participated in the 2013, 2014 and 2015 Block of the Month programs. Sue Spargo has inspired me with her creative wool appliqué embellishment. I decided to make a wool appliqué pincushion to support and encourage Sue in her fight with cancer. I will be mailing the pincushion to Sue tomorrow. The pincushion is approximately 5 1/2" square.

Pincushion for Sue

In Full Bloom Quilt

I finished stitching In Full Bloom December 30, 2014 and I have patiently been waiting for the custom machine quilting to be completed by Jessica Jones Gamez. Turn around time for custom quilting is 6 months and sometimes it is hard to wait patiently. In Full Bloom was recently published by Sue Spargo, so I am now able to post a picture of my finished quilt. In Full Bloom was Sue Spargo's tenth BOM and this was my second Sue Spargo BOM. Quilt is 36" x 43 1/2".
In Full Bloom Quilt
In Full Bloom label
In Full Bloom Quilt Label
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Summer Blooms Bag

A few days ago, I finished embellishing the flowers on my Summer Blooms bag and today I sewed the bag together. It is always a challenge to sew wool because wool is thicker and the layers can easily shift when sewing a seam. I have found using the dual feed feature on my Bernina 780 a big help when sewing wool. Reducing the presser foot pressure also helps to minimize shifting.
Summer Blooms bag was designed by Sue Spargo and is 12" by 9".

Summer Blooms bag frontSummer Blooms bag back

In Full Bloom

In Full Bloom was Sue Spargo's 2014 BOM. This was the tenth year that Sue has done a BOM and this was my second Sue Spargo BOM. All BOM participants agree not to post any pictures of In Full Bloom before the quilt is published. Since I am unable to post a picture of my completed top, I am posting Sue's line drawing. I am just thrilled to have completed In Full Bloom in 2014.
In Full bloom drawing
Tomorrow, I will be taking my completed top to Jessica Gamez so she can do the machine quilting.
I have signed up for the 2015 BOM and is titled Folk Tails and I can hardly wait to begin. I should receive my first 2015 BOM package the beginning of January so I guess I have a few weeks to stitch on some of my unfinished projects. This is the line drawing of Folk Tails

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Fabric and Ties of My Life

I just returned from The Rocky Mountain Quilting Adventure held in Steamboat Springs Colorado. RMQA is sponsored by David Taylor and this year Sue Spargo was the guest teacher. The focus of Sue's class was to create a fabric journal quilt. For the last year, I have wanted to create a wool appliqué quilt which would incorporate silk fabric purchased in Japan by my parents in 1963 along with some Japanese silk ties. Other fabrics I wanted to included were some llama print cottons purchased in Peru in 1971 which were made into some ties for my Dad, fabric from a wool sport coat and ties belonging to my brother in law, John Protz. I also have velveteens that Lucie and I made skirts or dresses. The working title of my quilt is Fabric and Ties of My Life.
This is a picture of my quilt so far, I still have to add wool appliqué borders. The center section is about 20" by 23".
Fabrics and Ties of My Life

These are few the fabric and ties I have used and some that will be used in my quilt.

Bird Dance Quilt

Drum roll, please. Bird Dance is finished, I even have the quilt label on the back. The gorgeous machine quilting was done by Jessica Jones Gamez.. Bird Dance was designed by Sue Spargo for her 2013 BOM. Sue's quilt design was inspired by a tile floor while on vacation in Italy, check out the full story of Sue's inspiration.

Bird Dance QuiltBird Dance label
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Needle Keep

In January 2013, I started my first Sue Spargo BOM. I was new to Sue's wool appliqué stitching and I decided to make a test block using wool from my stash. Of course, I then had a finished 6 1/2" bird block which I decided to use as the front of a small needle keep. My original needle keep has served me well these last 18 months but as Sue introduced a wider variety of needles, my original needle keep did not have enough labeled spaces for the needles. I designed my new needle keep with 4 wool pages which would allow spaces for 24 different types of needles plus I added two zippered vinyl pockets to hold thimbles and needle threaders. I did a wool appliqué flower on the front. The needle keep is 8 1/2" high and 7 1/2" wide.
Needle keep front Needle keep inside
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African Tulip tote

I finished the African tulip tote today. The African Tulip tote was designed by Sue Spargo and is 21" wide, 16" in length and 5" deep. The embellished wool appliqué front gave me a chance to learn some new embellishing stitches and to use some different embellishing threads. Valdani pearl cotton, Thread Gathers silken pearl, silken chenille, and sea grass are some of the embellishing threads I used. Sue's pattern was constructed using batting but I decided to use Soft and Stable to give the tote more body. I also wanted a zipper closure and I used instructions from a by annie tote pattern.
African tulip tote
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June 2013, I took a quilt cruise to Alaska, one of the featured teacher was Sue Spargo. My class project was embellished circles. I found some fabric and based my circle color choices on the chosen fabric. Sue was an excellent teacher and I learned quite a few embellishing stitches for my circles. Sue's book, Creative Stitching which includes step by step instructions for 50 of Sue's favorite stitches was an excellent resource for embellishing the circles. I finished embellishing the circles and and I can't wait for the piece to be made into a pillow.
Circle pillow and fabric
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Bird Dance Top

I am behind in posting my completed Bird Dance top. I had a total knee replacement on January 14, 2014, life is slowly getting back to normal. Last Tuesday, I took Bird Dance to Jessica Jones Gamez to be machine quilted, I can't wait to get it back. Lately, I have been doing a lot of reading, physical therapy and generally just relaxing, something I probably don't do very often.
Bird Dance top

Bird Dance Blocks 1 - 30

All the blocks are now complete and sewn together. I have really enjoyed stitching the bird blocks and learning some new stitches. I am working on the borders and I can't wait to sew them on the top.
Bird Dance blocks 1 - 30

Bird Dance Blocks 1 -24

Life has been quite hectic. The remodel/construction finished Saturday, October 12, 2013 but the clean up was just beginning. Closets, everything in the kitchen, basically everything in the house needed cleaning. I am beginning to place furniture and rehang everything on my walls. Last Saturday was the first time I was able to stitch on my Bird Dance blocks. Before the remodel began, I was almost finished stitching the August blocks, blocks 22, 23 and 24. Last night, I finished the blocks and placed them on my design wall. It really felt good to do something besides cleaning and organizing. I will really have to concentrate on finishing September, blocks 25, 26, 27 and October blocks 28, 29, and 30.
Bird Dance blocks 1 -24
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Bird Dance Blocks 1 - 21

January 2013, I started Sue Spargo's 2013 Block of the Month called Bird Dance. There will be 30 colorful birds blocks, each block is 6" finished. The blocks are made using hand dyed wools, linens, silk velvets, linen and velvet ribbons and rick rack. It has been quite a challenge to learn all the embellishing stitches, use new embellishing threads and re-learn needle turn appliqué. Needle turn appliqué is definitely not my most favorite technique. Valdani #8 perle cotton, sea grass, silken pearl, Razzle, Dazzle are some of the embellishing thread used for the Bird Dance blocks.

I have placed blocks 1 - 21 on my design wall in the order I think they will be in the finished quilt.

Bird Dance blocks 1 - 21 - Version 2
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My First Cruise

I am back from my first cruise. I went on a 7 day quilting cruise to Alaska on Holland America. On the "at sea days" I took wool appliqué classes with Sue Spargo. I started embellishing circles which I hope one day will be a pillow.
Circle pillow top
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